Luke wants the time to prepare

Frank Buglioni is still on Blackledge's wish list
Frank Buglioni is still on Blackledge's wish list
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Luke Blackledge feels some fighters are expected to put too much on the line in their quest for continual progression in the sport.

While the high profile names are protected, and their records respected, with governing bodies allocating the necessary time to plan and prepare for future contests, the lesser known athletes are being pushed in to bouts at late notice.

The Clitheroe super-middleweight is the owner of the Commonwealth strap, courtesy of a successful defence against Lee Markham last year, but the British number six is still being coerced in to risking everything by jumping head first in to fights.

The 25-year-old, coached by Alex Matvienko at the former pro’s Elite Boxing hub in Bolton, was offered to take on WBO European champion Jamie Cox at three weeks’ notice, a proposal he duly declined because of the risk involved.

“I was never scheduled to fight him, nothing was agreed, but it was something that was offered,” he said. “They wanted me to fight him at a few weeks’ notice and I’m not doing that. There’s too much on the line for me to take such a big risk.

“I need time and a proper training camp. First and foremost I need to get my weight down which is my responsibility.

“But for a 12-round title fight I need the appropriate time to prepare. I just want to switch on and get active soon.”

Blackledge added: “I don’t want to throw everything I’ve achieved away. I’ve worked hard to get here so I want to do everything right.

“I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past, people have made decisions for me, but I want to make the right choices to help my career. Boxing is a selfish sport so you’ve got to look after number one.

“I’m the champion so I should be given a fair shot. I shouldn’t have to accept fights at such short notice. I want to give a good account of myself, I’ve got titles to preserve, and I want everything to be right.”

Cox would be an opponent that Blackledge would consider in the future, providing the terms were favourable, but he’s not the only name on his list of targets.

The Smith brothers, Callum and Paul, WBA World title challenger Frank Buglioni, Jahmaine Smyle, Andrew Robinson and former professional footballer Leon McKenzie are all included on Blackledge’s ‘wish list’.

“Jamie Cox has come out of nowhere, he’s got a good record with 20 wins, but he’s not really fought anyone,” he said. “The majority have been journeymen.

“He’s fairly small for a super-middleweight but he can punch. I don’t know too much about him but he hasn’t got anything that I want at the moment.

“The money would have to be right in the future and he would need something to put on the line.

“There would have to be something in it for me. He’s got a good ranking with the WBO but that doesn’t really mean anything.”

He added: “I need a run out sometime soon so I can prepare for a big fight. I want to take on somebody in the top 10 so I can keep moving forward.

“I want to defend my title again and step up. I want to fight anybody who is ahead of me in the rankings.

“I’d take on Buglioni, Callum or Paul Smith, or even Smyle, Robinson or McKenzie. There are a few good fights out there for me and those are the ones that I want.

“I just don’t want these contests to be thrown at me at a few weeks’ notice. I need a proper training camp for these big fights.”